Futures Lab Update #141: Faster Fact-Checking and Non-Profit Partnerships

    by Reuben Stern
    February 25, 2016
    A screenshot from this week's RJI Futures Lab Update.

    This story first appeared on RJI’s Futures Lab. Reporting by Berkeley Lovelace and Katy Mersmann.

    This week we find out how automation might speed up political fact-checking, and we learn what goes into successful partnerships that involve non-profit news organizations.

    "We're trying to make the [fact-checking] process as quick as possible. People want to know the information as soon as the claim was made." - Aaron Sharockman


    PART 1: Faster fact-checking

    It takes time to investigate whether claims made by politicians are true, but technology might help speed up that process. We get some ideas from PolitiFact Executive Director Aaron Sharockman and Editor Angie Drobnic Holan.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Additional information:


    The Washington Post has been working for some time on its own real-time fact-checking system, called Truth Teller. In addition to political speech, the Post has applied its fact-checking effort to movie trailers.

    PART 2: Nonprofit partnerships

    Partnerships between nonprofit journalism outlets and their for-profit counterparts increasingly enable deep reporting on complex subjects to reach a wide audience. We find out what goes into these efforts from Gabriel Dance, managing editor at The Marshall Project, and T. Christian Miller, a reporter at ProPublica.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    For more information:

    “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” which explores the difficult work of tracking down a rapist, is a recent collaborative effort reported and published by both The Marshall Project and ProPublica. Most collaborations are planned in advance, but as the editors explain, the unusual cooperation on this project “arose entirely by chance, months after both news organizations had begun work on different facets of what turned out to be the same story.” Further details about how the reporting was done are explained here. The story also has been adapted into an episode of This American Life scheduled for release on Feb. 26.

    The Columbia Journalism Review provides a more in-depth look at The Marshall Project and its approach to journalism and partnerships.

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    RJI Futures Lab web banner

    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: aaron sharockman angie drobnic holan fact-checking futures lab gabriel dance news partnerships nonprofit journalism politifact reuben stern rji

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